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What Is Minimum Wage?

Various kinds of jobs provide different methods of payment. Some jobs pay by the hour, by the week, or by the month. However, no matter what the job, there is a price floor or a minimum when it comes to how much an employer or company can pay its employees, given that they meet certain circumstances. This price floor is also known as a minimum wage.


A minimum wage is set by federal and state labor laws in order to prevent companies from abusing the labor provided for them by people. Such minimum wage laws often target the skilled laborers, who are the most needed in the labor force. Every person who works essentially has the right to work and be paid a minimum amount for each hour they work.


The Legislature has the right to determine how much the minimum wage is, and Congress also has the right to change this price floor given that it must pass through debate and voting. Any amendments or adjustments made to the minimum wage are passed through Congress. However, due to the laws passed during the Clinton administration, it is possible for states to raise the minimum wage above the minimum wage set by Congress. Thus, New York may have a higher minimum wage than New Orleans.


Minimum wage originated in 1935 when former President Roosevelt passed the first minimum wage under the National Recovery Act. This was in response to majority of the unions and labor parties protesting against unfair treatment by employers, who set their own extremely low minimum wage.

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